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Commercial Freshwater Finfish

Harvesting, Processing, and Selling

Louisiana commercial fishermen land more than 12 million pounds of freshwater finfish per year. Common species include alligator gar; blue, channel, and flathead catfish; freshwater drum; buffalo fish; bowfin; carp; and shad. Annual dockside value of commercial freshwater finfish landings in Louisiana is approximately $6 million.

Trip Tickets

LDWF requires that wholesale/retail seafood dealers and wholesale/retail reptile and amphibian dealers purchasing or accepting transfers of catch from commercial fishermen or reptile/amphibian collectors submit trip tickets to capture information about the catch—what it is, where it was caught, how it was caught, and how much was caught. Fresh products license holders (commercial fishermen licensed to sell their catch directly to consumers) are also required to submit trip tickets. LDWF uses this information to improve assessments of fish populations and inform management. 

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Waterbody Management Plans

To monitor our freshwater finfish resources, LDWF biologists routinely sample rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs based on their importance to the fishing public, size, productivity, and, in the case of reservoirs, drawdown capability. They take thousands of samples, using various sampling methods including electrofishing, seines, gillnets, hoop nets, and lead nets to evaluate the composition and abundance of Louisiana’s freshwater finfish species. They also collect water quality data with every sample to assess dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity and conductivity. Monitoring and management results are reported in Waterbody Management Plans.

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Louisiana Finfish Task Force

The Louisiana Finfish Task Force (representatives from commercial and recreational finfish fisheries and relevant state agencies) was established to study and monitor the finfish industry and to make recommendations to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, LDWF, and other state agencies for the maximization of benefit from that industry for the state of Louisiana and its citizens.